Ghostbusters 3 With A Female Cast Isn’t A Gimmick
It’s infuriating that in this day and age it needs to be said. But as Paul Feig felt the need to state on Twitter last night:
Interesting how making a movie with men in the lead roles is normal but making a movie with women in the lead roles is a “gimmick.”#its2014
His comment appears to be in response to outcry from some that Ghostbusters 3 might just be centered around female folk who ain’t afraid of no ghosts instead of male ones. Now some people are opposed to Ghostbusters 3 out a sheer distaste for reboots and sequels, especially long-delayed ones that have the original cast avoiding them like the plague. That I totally understand. But others have a specific brand of rage about this latest news, and it’s sinister.
Cynics are suggesting that having female leads in Ghostbusters 3 is a gimmick. Perhaps this is because Feig, who is the frontrunner for the sequel’s director’s chair, is best-known for helming such comedy smash hits as The Heat and Bridesmaids, which starred women. Or maybe it’s a snarky view at the rise of successful female-fronted films, like those and Lucy, The Hunger Games, Frozen and so on. Regardless, it’s ludicrous to claim that fronting a movie with women is a gimmick.
First off, this news of female ghostbusters actually predates Feig’s potential involvement by years. Back in 2011, Dan Aykroyd, who has at times been Ghostbusters 3’s lone cheerleader, spoke about who he’d like to see cast in the film,and said:
“We’re going to need… three guys and a young woman.”
The script was reportedly revised following the death of Harold Ramis last February. Perhaps this is when one lone lady ghostbuster became several. But this might not in any way impact the established plot, which still remains a mystery. We need to stop believing that every movie role has a hard-fixed assigned gender from conception.
Recently it was rumored that Gwendoline Christie was cast in Star Wars: Episode VII for a role initially conceived for a man, potentially Benedict Cumberbatch. But you know what? Gender could have been in no way a defining element of the character. If you read the sentence, “a hulking bounty hunter entered the tavern, carrying a heavy gun pointed right at our hero!” is your first thought, “Does this bounty hunter have a penis? Or a vagina? I need to know for plot purposes!” I’m going to guess it was not.
Sometimes a role is written as a man. But a few minor tweaks can make it a fine female character. And the result can be awesome. The result can be Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien. And as I said of the scripting of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s not about the genitals of the artist involved, it’s about the art they can create given the opportunity. Maybe Feig has an ensemble in mind that’s more promising in this instance because it allows for women as well.
Now let’s consider the apparent bankability of female-led movies. When Bridesmaids and even The Heat opened, such movies were considered risky. But both proved to be major hits, and a slew have followed. The Sandra Bullock-led Gravity broke box office records. Frozen, which centered on two princesses, became a Disney juggernaut and the highest worldwide grossing film of 2013. Domestically, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire took the number one spot, beating out Iron Man 3. The Angelina Jolie-led Maleficent is proving a big-winner this year, already having pulled in $717 million, becoming its star’s highest grossing release ever.
Have we swung so far the other way that some think casting a woman as a lead is equivalent to stunt casting? That it’s just a fad? That, to me, is flat-out absurd. And speaks to discomfort in rising onscreen diversity in representation. Some insist it just won’t feel right to have women taking on roles that “should” go to men! The implication is that it’s bad enough to imagine Jonah Hill stepping into Dan Aykroyd’s shoes, but to have Jenny Slate do it with her ovaries and all! EGADS!
In the past, I’ve written about representation, but I’ll boil it down to its barest bones. You could turn literally hundreds, even thousands of formerly male characters–fromThor to Peter Venkman–into women for reboots. And males would still have millions of characters left who represent them, and in a million different ways. Women and people of color have nowhere near this luxury. So quit you’re bellyaching when onebeloved white guy gets subbed out for a woman or a person of color. The old versions aren’t going to be burned, never to be seen again. And you still have plenty of other white male heroes to cling to. Count yourself lucky, and open yourself up to different brands of heroes.
I get not wanting there to be a Ghostbusters 3 altogether. The first two are great, and this clunky path to possible production does not inspire hope that the third could live up to their legacy. But the complaint of adding women to the Ghostbusters line-up is a gimmick is insulting. On one level, it overlooks actresses as bankable stars. It suggests that male heroes in these roles would have more integrity than female ones, which is insulting to women as a whole. It ignores the increasing demand from audiences for a grander representation in the media that expands beyond heaps upon heaps of white men. And it sneers at the creative process that has led to this decision.
I can’t tell you at this point if Ghostbusters 3 will be better for having women at its center. It’s hard to even speculate knowing so little about the movie’s particulars. But my guess is that it’ll be the screenwriters, performers, and the director who will define this movie for better or worse, not their gender identities.
Russian Hackers Amass Over a Billion Internet Passwords
A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.
The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names, and small Internet sites. Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.
Hold Security would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable. At the request of The New York Times, a security expert not affiliated with Hold Security analyzed the database of stolen credentials and confirmed it was authentic. Another computer crime expert who had reviewed the data, but was not allowed to discuss it publicly, said some big companies were aware that their records were among the stolen information.
Amazon brings same-day delivery to more US cities
Amazon is getting serious about same-day delivery: today the company rolled out its instant-gratification service across more US cities including Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Dallas, and Indianapolis. Amazon also expanded availability of same-day delivery to a much wider portion of New York City. That’s in addition to Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle — locations where same-day item drop-offs are already available. The full list of zip codes eligible can be found here and here.
The speedy deliveries cost Prime members $5.99, an extra charge that covers all items in a single order. It’s a bit more expensive for non-subscribers, however. They pay $9.98 for the first item and $0.99 for each additional one, so the convenience of same-day delivery demands a higher premium if you’re not paying Amazon $99 for Prime. Orders must be placed by noon to be eligible, and Amazon offers same-day deliveries seven days a week. Not even Sundays can come between you and that thing you just absolutely had to have.
Monkey’s selfie at center of copyright brouhaha
Wikipedia says the public, not the photojournalist, owns the rights to ape’s pic.
An English nature photographer is going ape over Wikipedia’s refusal to remove pictures of a monkey from the online encyclopedia that he says are being displayed without his permission.
Wikimedia, the operation that runs Wikipedia, says that the public, not photojournalist David Slater, maintains the rights to the works. That’s because the black macaca nigra monkey swiped the camera from Slater during a 2011 shoot in Indonesia and snapped tons of pictures, including the selfie and others at issue.
“We received a takedown request from the photographer, claiming that he owned the copyright to the photographs. We didn’t agree. So we denied the request,” Wikimedia said Wednesday in its transparency report.
The picture is among the thousands the site makes available for free under its Wikimedia Commons, a fact that Slater says is costing him royalties. The picture went viral in 2011 when the media reported on the selfie. “He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet,” Slater toldThe Telegraph in July 2011 as he described the monkey hijacking his gear.
The image has at times been removed from the Wikimedia Commons by various site editors.
“If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me—that’s their basic argument. What they don’t realize is that it needs a court to decide that,” Slater told the Telegraph Wednesday.
Slater said the picture should not be in the public domain. “They’ve got no right to say that it’s public domain. A monkey pressed the button, but I did all the setting up,” he said.
But Wikimedia countered, saying, “To claim copyright, the photographer would have had to make substantial contributions to the final image, and even then, they’d only have copyright for those alterations, not the underlying image. This means that there was no one on whom to bestow copyright, so the image falls into the public domain.”
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Ingress for iOS. Spring workout music app. SlidersCast. The Martian by Andy Weir. New Storium games!
Gozer:Destiny Beta ( thanks to Rod Williams ) Hunter class Exo. Tivo update Finished Orange is the new black & GOT season 3
Feedback and items of Note:
Hey guys. Sorry I haven’t emailed this summer. I have been busy with football practice. I might be one of the first computer geeks in history to have a chance at starting quarterback on a high school football team. The same high school that Colin Kaepernick went to in fact. I saw on the news about the flags in NYC. Wierd. This will make all the conspiracy theorists go crazy. I can’t wait for FOXNOW on Apple TV soon. As always love the show
Hey guys. I finally got to watch firefly. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I watched the entire season in two days. It’s not dr who status, but it still kind of sucks that there isn’t more episodes. High school just became easier as our classes are allowed to use tablets and laptops. My iPad mini is going to be welcome for doing almost everything from flash cards to taking notes. As always love the show,
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